"Maybe someone should have labeled the future: 'Some assembly required.'"
REVIEW: If I were to lay this episode's failure at something's feet, it might well be the casting of the guest-stars, something that's usually a plus on Babylon 5. Not this time. Richard Moll (Bull from Night Court) is the most charismatic of them, hidden behind a beard and mullet which is far less dramatic than playing up his height might have been. His voice is also too warm and funny to really sell him as a dangerous thug. Well, considering how easily he gives up at the end, I guess that's consistent (still not good). Franklin's old mentor (yes, another one), played by Tony Steedman, is fine but boring. It goes down from there. Bernie Casey, here a slimy bureaucrat called Derek Cranston, has never been my cup of tea. I disliked him as Sisko's old friend on Deep Space 9, but he's even worse here. The performance is sleepy at best, and he sounds like he's been shot up with novocaine, slurring his words. Even worse is Wanda de Jesus as General Hague loyalist Sarah, with her arch delivery, smiling threateningly when she should be gaining Sheridan's trust. Just terrible. So badly played, in fact, I don't know how to interpret the ending. Sheridan might as well have delivered Dr. Jacobs to the enemy, for all the proof she offers of being (and seeming!) on the right side.
I'd be more enthusiastic if the Earth Alliance conspiracy was significantly advanced by the plot. All it really does is confirm what we've known/suspected all along, that Clark got off Earthforce One because he knew it would blow up and kill President Santiago. Sheridan getting a briefing from the agent called Sarah brings repeats points just made in All Alone in the Night. And so most of the runaround concerns complications to getting the star witness back before Earthforce intelligence does, a search conducted by Garibaldi wearing an outrageously silly gumshoe hat. There's playing up the film noir element, and then there's a fashion faux-pas.
So what's good here? Well, Sheridan getting crucial information late and being forced to contravene his own people who are just following orders is an interesting dilemma, and it's fun to see him and Ivanova (she's really getting impish, isn't she?) run circles around the likes of Cranston. Garibaldi gleefully gets violent with the perps, and that's entertaining too, as is his mode of secret communication with Dr. Franklin. The B-thread concerns Sheridan making it his mission to learn all he can about the Vorlons, and though Kosh plays it cryptic as usual, we do get our first look at his living ship's capabilities. What's really intriguing isn't so much that it's telepathic or a shape-shifter, but that its master Kosh actually gets involved! For the first time, we get a sense of what the Vorlons want (though we're not supposed to ask that question), which for now is preparing Sheridan/humanity for what's coming. Seems Kosh is on the same page as Delenn, if I read it right. That nice exchange about the future not being everything it was cut out to be and needing "some assembly" seems to connect to that idea.
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORMHOLE: Bernie Casey had appeared in Deep Space 9's two-parter The Maquis the year before. He wasn't a guy you could trust there either.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium-Low - While there are some good things here, mostly on the Vorlon side of things, the plot seems entirely redundant and disposable, and the guest acting is problematic at best.